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Tough Time Awaits Criminals In Rivers …As Wike Finally Signs Neigbhourhood Watch, Anti-Kidnapping Bills Into Law …Police Gun Down Kingpin In Rivers

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In a bid to improve the security of communities, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nysom Wike has given his assent to the Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps Law No. 8 of 2018.
The governor also gave his assent to the Rivers State Secret Cult and Similar Activities (Prohibition) (Amendment) Law No. 6 of 2018 and the Rivers State Kidnap (Prohibition) (Amendment) No. 2 Law No.7 of 2018.
Giving his assent to the three Bills passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike said that the laws were necessary to enhance security across the state.
He said that Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps will support existing security agencies with intelligence and information for them to effectively fight crime and make the state safer.
The governor said that the Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps cannot work without the approval of security agencies who will profile all the operatives.
He said anybody who loves Rivers State will not do anything to undermine steps that will enhance the security of lives in the state.
Wike said: “If your hands are clean, you have nothing to fear about the three laws that I have given assent to. By tomorrow, I will appoint the person that will head the Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps.
“All criminals will face the full weight of the law. We will fight crime and ensure that the state is safe for investors”, he added.
He debunked claims by opposition elements that the state government plans to use the Neighbourhood Watch to arm youth, insisting that the corps was a replica of what was already in existence in Lagos State.
Commenting on the anti-kidnapping and anti-cultism laws, Wike said that stiffer penalties have been approved to discourage those who may want to be involved in the offences.
“If you are a cultist and you are caught, it is life imprisonment. If you are a cultist and you kill during cult activities, you will face the death penalty.
“If you are convicted of kidnapping and the Supreme Court affirms your conviction, I will sign the death warrant without looking back”, the governor said.
The governor said that the state government will battle cultism and kidnapping to a standstill, noting that enough is enough.
Also speaking, senator representing Rivers West Senatorial District, Senator Osinakachukwu Ideozu said that the laws assented to by the Rivers State governor will strengthen security operations in the state.
Ideozu described as unfortunate the failed attempt by Senator Magnus Abe to mislead the Senate on the Neighbourhood Watch law, insisting that it was within the purview of the Rivers State House of Assembly to pass the state Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps Law for the security of the state.
The senator commended the governor for being proactive in the promotion of security in Rivers State by giving assent to the three laws.
Presenting the bills, Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Martins Amaewhule said that the laws provided for stiffer penalties in the interest of the state.
Amaewhule said that the Neighbourhood Watch Safety Corps Bill was passed in line with extant laws and the constitution.
Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani said the Rivers State governor has made a difference through service delivery, and thanked him signing the three bills into law.
Meanwhile, a kidnap and sea piracy kingpin, Prosper David, popularly known as Militant General, has been gunned down by operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team.
The killing of the kingpin on February 21, 2018 at about 10:45pm was sequel to a follow up on the kidnapping of Tina Bob-Manuel.
IRT operatives, The Tide learnt traced the kidnap kingpin, who was said to have embraced the Federal Government’s Presidential Amnesty Programme but later formed a kidnapping gang, to Bayelsa State where he was fatally injured during gun battle.
The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had deployed the IRT operatives to Port Harcourt, Rivers State to fight kidnapping and other violent crimes.
The IRT operatives were said to have been on David’s trail for long time after he masterminded the kidnap of Bob-Manuel on November 22, 2017 in her shop located at 107, Nvuigwe Road, Woji, Port Harcourt and several other kidnappings.
He was said to have underground after the collection of ransom in two instalments and when he sensed that the police are closing in on him.
He dropped his contact number known to his personal driver that was earlier arrested by the police and relocated his family from Victory Estate, Azikoro, Yenagoa in December 2017 to the creek all in a bid to avoid arrest.
After about 90 days of painstaking intelligence gathering with technical assistance support from the Technical Intelligence Unit, David was tracked to Asiri area of Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, where he had just rented an apartment.
On sighting the operatives, he ran into his apartment ceiling from where he engaged the operatives but was killed in the process.
Other suspects arrested for the kidnappings are: Johnson Denis, David’s driver, who was arrested with the victims phone; David, who had on him one AK47 riffle, one magazine, 26 rounds of live ammunition, four expended ammunitions and a Nokia phone belonging to his kidnap victim, with which ransom negotiation was done; Benjamin Johnson; and Anthony Joshua, with the last two arrested between February 21 and March 14, 2018.
Sources said serious efforts are in top gear to arrest other gang members and recover more arms.

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Fubara Promises To Maximise Youth Potentials In Rivers

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has affirmed his administration’s focus in prioritising policies that will maximise the potentials of the youths in the State.
Fubara made this declaration yesterday at the State NYSC permanent orientation camp, Nonwa-Gbam Tai, in Tai Local Government Area during the swearing-in ceremony of 2024 Batch A Stream 1 corps members deployed to Rivers State.
This was contained in a statement by the Head of Press Unit, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Juliana Masi, yesterday.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services Bureau, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Sir Samson Friday Dede, the governor commended the NYSC Scheme for the positive impacts it is making in the nation’s quest for sustained development.
“My administration will be unwavering and fully focused in supporting the youths in maximizing their potentials”, he said.
He assured the corps members of his administration’s commitment in supporting them to achieve the mandate of uniting and integrating to the nation.
The governor further admonished corps members to take full advantage of the camp programmes and activities to equip themselves to contribute to nation building.
Earlier, Coordinator, NYSC, Rivers State, Mr. George Mfongang, had urged the corps members to be in the forefront of the nation’s development by being hard working, disciplined and morally sound.
He commended them for being passionate and enthusiastic in imbibing the lessons of the orientation exercise.
The Coordinator thanked Governor Fubara for his unflinching commitment in ensuring the security and welfare of corps members in the State especially, the payment of State allowance to them.
A total of 1,585 Corps members made up of 819 males and 766 females took the oath of allegiance at the ceremony that was administered by Justice Ibiwengi Roseline Minakiri.

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FG, Cement Manufacturers Agree On N7,000, N8,000 For 50kg Per Bag

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The Federal Government and cement manufacturers have agreed on a N7,000 to N8,000 per 50 kg bag price of cement to halt the astronomical rise in the price of the product.
This agreement was part of a deal struck after several hours of meeting held behind closed doors at the headquarters of the Ministry of Works, between the Federal Government and cement manufacturers , in Abuja, yesterday.
The manufacturers agreed to sell a 50kg bag of cement at a retail price between N7,000 and N8,000, depending on location nationwide.
They, however put a caveat that the price drop from the current market price would largely depend on government fulfilling its promised interventions in certain areas of concern to ameliorate critical challenges faced in the industry.
Retail price for cement jumped from N5,000 to N10,000 within one week in the open market, after wholesalers, citing increasing cost of transportation and other variables, made adjustments to the price they sell to retailers.
Retailers in turn transferred the additional cost burden to consumers to stay afloat.
This prompted President Bola Tinubu to order the Ministers of Works, David Umahi and his Trade and Investment counterpart, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite. to meet with cement manufacturers to find a solution to the crisis.
Umahi had, while calling for the meeting, expressed the Federal Government’s concern over the development, adding that if the situation wasn’t brought under control, it had the potential of hurting the prosperity agenda of the current administration.
After the meeting, Umahi read out a communique in which he mentioned concerns raised by the manufacturers.
These concerns include: bad roads, smuggling, high cost of energy, and the Forex crisis. This according to the manufacturers were the primary reasons behind the price hike.
He also said the manufacturers which include Dangote Cement PLC, BUA Cement PLC, Larfarge Africa PLC and Cement Producers Association, expressed willingness to reduce the prices going forward.
Representatives of the Federal Government include the Minister of Works and his counterpart in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
While reading the communique, Umahi said: “The meeting noted the challenges of the manufacturers like: cost of gas; high import duty on spare parts; bad road network; high foreign exchange; and smuggling of cement to neighbouring nations.
“The government noted the challenges and reacted as follows: Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to seek some remedies from Mr. President on cost of gas and import duties.”

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We Are Hungry, Dying, Ibadan Protesters Tell Tinubu

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Thousands of people, on Monday, thronged the major streets of Ibadan in Oyo State, to protest the hardship in the country.
The protesters, who are mainly youths, kept saying they were not out to cause trouble, but to call the attention of all the tiers of governments to the unbearable hardship in the country.
Though they did not use any objects to block the roads, they converged on accesses leading to the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, Sango, Dugbe and Eleyele, thereby blocking vehicular traffic.
They displayed several placards with inscriptions such as ‘Give us good health, End bad governance, End food hike, Open border, End hardship, ‘Is this the renewed hope you promised?’
At intervals, organisers of the protest kept updating the security agents who kept vigilance to arrest anyone who caused problem or hijacked the protest for selfish ends.
During the protest, some schools and banks shut their gates.
The Tide learnt that the protest was convened through the social media.
One of the messages sent by the conveners read, “People should not pass through Mokola roundabout because there will be protest on Monday”.
The message advised that motorists should take alternative routes to their destinations.
A lady who refused to disclose her name, caught the attention of many people with a placard that read: ‘Sanitary pad now costs N4,000; we can’t be using cloth, Please, help us’. Nothing should happen to me. All I’m asking for is my legitimate earning and ease of life.’
Another woman, who identified herself as Mobolaji Inaolaji, one of the coordinators, said: “We want to tell our leaders that things are not right, they should make things easier for us. We are not here to cause violence, things are too costly and people are dying.
“It is our right to protest whether we got permit or not. We have told the security agents that they should arrest whoever causes problem. We are peaceful and law abiding. All we want is to make government know our pains. We will go through most parts of the city.”
Other protesters who were speaking with anger, said: “This problem is too much. Whoever wants to arrest me should come and do so. If we don’t die outside, we’ll die at home.”
After about an hour at Mokola, the protesters headed towards Sango and other parts of the city.

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